Much has been made recently of Mark Hamill’s most recent comments about the sequel trilogy, but there’s really not much new there and the bottom line is that his feelings toward it are quite nuanced and mixed and not easily relegated to support any side.
But out purpose here isn’t really to re-hash any of Hamill’s feelings about the sequel trilogy but rather to pick up on something he said about Episode IX, be it ever so subtle.
Speaking to Den of Geek recently to promote his new role in the show Knightfall, here’s what Hamill said about how this film was supposed to be Carrie Fisher’s opportunity to shine:
“Harrison [Ford] was more prominent in the first of the sequels, then I was more prominent, and Carrie [Fisher] was meant to be more prominent in the third. I’m glad they found a way to do that, and something tells me that she’d get a real kick out of the fact that she had a hit movie years after she left us, because that was just her. I like to think that would please her, but nothing would be better than having her here.”
The basis of Hamill’s comments are nothing new. It has been well-known for a while now that Harrison Ford was to take a starring role in The Force Awakens, Mark Hamill was to take a starring role in The Last Jedi, and then Carrie Fisher was to take a starring role in Episode IX. That’s not surprising nor something new, and even the films themselves seemed to be setting up for that. But then tragically Fisher passed away before Episode IX could be filmed, leading many to wonder what would happen to her iconic character.
The answer is that Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams are going to use previously unseen footage of Fisher filmed for the other movies and utilize them for Episode IX. That seems like a good solution, but many wondered if that meant Leia’s role will be little more than a small cameo or two. But note very carefully what Hamill said: they still found a way for this to be Leia’s film, and that she’ll have a hit movie after her passing. He said that Fisher was supposed to be more prominent in the third film, and “I’m glad they found a way to do that.”
That seems to me an indication that Leia’s role in Episode IX will remain significant, whether that means actual screentime or just importance to the plot or whatever. But it also fits with what I’ve thought for a while: I think many people may be surprised by how much of Leia we see this December. Todd Fisher, Carrie’s brother, has previously said that there’s a lot of minutes of footage that fits perfectly.
There are many, many, many things that I can’t wait to see from Episode IX, and more Carrie Fisher is certainly one of them. I’m super excited and curious to see what they have come up with, and I think it’s great and important to hear what Mark Hamill says here: they’ve found a way for her to take center stage in this one. That’s likely not to the extent that Harrison Ford or Mark Hamill did in the previous films, but nonetheless a really good sign and a small indicator of what we can expect.
Leia Organa will be back. And I think many may be surprised with her role in Episode IX when December rolls around.